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CV Writing Tips

Formatting:

The format of a CV is the most important thing. It is the thing which will turn an employer on or off you within the first glance. Too many words on a page or indiscriminate sections are a no no. Also, NEVER entitle your CV as “My CV”. Start instead with personal information or at the very least, your name.

 

  • Use bullet points where possible but don’t overdo these.

 Ensure that you use a ‘readable’ font such as Times New Roman or Arial and make sure it is no smaller than pt.10 or it looks messy. CVs which are difficult to read are discarded without a second glance.

Highlight key headings in bold or underlining them adds emphasis in the right places.

 
Try and keep your CV to a maximum of 2 pages! This may mean cutting down on the amount of information you list in relation to your previous jobs, or the amount of time you go back in terms of previous jobs. It may also mean using a smaller font, but as noted above, no smaller than pt. 10.

 

Top tips :

Arial pt 10 is smaller than Times New Roman pt 10.

Page boundaries can be adjusted.

 Personal information:

The best place for personal information is at the top of your CV. But be careful what you include. Your full name, address, contact telephone number and email address (if you have one) is plenty.
 
Do not add your relationship status, date of birth, number of children, or whether or not you are a smoker unless it is specifically requested in the job advertisment, and even then it should go under "additional information" (see below).
 

Driving licence details are only relevant if the job requires it and then the only information around that should be whether or not you possess a full licence. (If you have points, I wouldn’t mention these here.) But again, I would mention drivers licence at the end of your CV under “additional information”.

 For example:

 

 

Joanne Bloggs

23 Middle Street

Hometown

AB12 3CD
 
 
01234 567890
07123456789

 

 

Content:

 The main headings to include are:
 

Personal profile

Key skills

Employment history

Educational qualifications

Additional training and qualifications (if relevant)

Additional information

References

 Personal profile:

 

This is the part where you state how wonderful you are, how many skills and abilities you have. It sounds easy, however:

·         Do not use the words “I” or “my” if possible. 

·         Do not make this section any longer than 5 or 6 lines.

·         Do finish it with a sentence about what you hope to achieve for example: “Seeking a new challenge” or “Hoping to gain a….”

 For example:

 

Consistently reliable individual with good communication skills and a positive attitude towards team work. Able to prioritise workload to achieve targets. Able to touch type to 30 wpm and familiar with Microsoft Office. Highly motivated with a wide range of practical, manual and work specific skills. Able to adapt to a new environment and quick to learn. Hoping to gain a new position to continue personal development as a chef.

 

Key skills:

 

Take any skills you have glossed over in the personal profile and add these in a bullet pointed list. Try to have between 5 and 8 - any more and it looks a bit excessive. Key skills are traits such as:

 

·         Interpersonal skills

·         Ability to work independently.

·         Team player

·         Hard worker.

·         Confident

·         Supervisory, leadership and mentoring skills

·         Proactive

·         Punctual and reliable.

 Etc.

 Employment history:

 
Always start with your most recent job. Include the dates which you worked from and until, the company name and your job title. Underneath this list some of your key duties or achievements whilst holding that position. Where possible, match these to traits required from the job you are applying for.

 For example:

 

 

June 2006 – October 2008                                                           Happy Workers

                                                                                                   Sales Assistant
 

Duties included:

·         Assisting customers with product selection.

·         Greeting customers with a friendly and welcoming environment.

·         Working closely with team members to ensure targets were met.

·         Handling cash and operating tills effectively in line with company policy.

 
 

You should either go back about 10 years or 4 jobs depending on which is the longest time period. You should also include voluntary work in this section.

 
 

Educational qualifications:

How you set out this section is dependent on when you completed your education.

 
 

 1) If you have recently finished education you would set it out in the same way as your employment history and indeed this section will be longer than the above. You will need to include all your qualifications and grades.

You will not need to put months as school years are standard and you will not need to go back any further than your GCSEs,

 For example:

 

2009 – 2011                                                                              A School 6th Form

A levels: French, English and History

AS level: PE

2004 – 2009                                                                              A School

GCSE Maths (B)

GCSE English Lit and Lang (BC)

GCSE Double Science (AA)

GCSE French (A)

GCSE History (B)

GCSE PE (A)

GCSE RE (C)

GCSE General Studies (A)

 

 
 
 

2) If you finished compulsory education more than a year ago and have additional qualifications such as degrees you would format it as below: 

 

2009 – 2011                                                                              A University

MA History (2:1)

 

2006 – 2009                                                                              A University

BA Hons in History with Basic Egyptian.
 

2004- 2006                                                                                A School 6th Form

A levels: French, English and History

AS level: PE

1999-2004                                                                                 A School

10 GCSEs A* -C including Maths, (B) English (BC) and Science (AA) 

 
Always include GCSE grades for Maths, English and Science if they were C or above as these are the basic qualifications the employer looks for.
 
 
 

 3) If you have finished school more than two years ago and don’t have any additional further education qualifications you would format it as below:

 

1989 – 1994                                                                              A School

7 CSEs including English, Maths and Chemistry.

 

Additional training and qualifications:

This section is particularly relevant if you didn’t do fantastically well at school but are in employment or have done on the job training. Qualifications and training under this section can include things such as:

·         Health and Safety Training

·         Manual handling qualifications

·         First Aid

·         NVQs which were achieved through apprenticeships or similar schemes.

 If you have achieved something as a qualification, list the year in which you achieved it after the qualification for example:
 
 

Health and Safety Training (2009)

 

 
Additional information:

 This section can be the shortest one on your CV. If there are any particular skills or qualities desired by an employer in a particular job, insert them here in short sentences. You can also insert information about your drivers licence here. If you are short on space on your CV, this is a section which can be omitted.
Do not include information such as "I enjoy socialising and spending time with my friends."  Employers will read it as "I go out at get drunk as often as I can" and it will not go down well.

 References:

You must always have this at the end of your CV, but never actually name the referees unless you have been specifically asked for them. This is because many CVs end up on the desks of recruitment agencies who are likely to use your referees for their own purpose. Equally, you are passing around personal details of two people without securing the job which is a breech of confidentiality. Instead I would advise to fill this section with a simple sentence:

 

 

References:

 

Available on request.

 

Sian-Louise

 

 

 

 


 

 

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